The primary objective of PACOP is to systematically improve palliative and end of life care through routine assessment of residents’ needs and the collection of data to evaluate access to care based on assessed needs.
PACOP for clinicians
Three collections are central to the Palliative Aged Care Outcomes Program. These collections build upon the core principles and protocols of our sister centre, the Palliative Care Outcomes Collaboration (PCOC), which have been developed and modified for aged care homes through the PCOC Wicking program.
Following the awarding of a philanthropic grant in 2019 from the J.O and J.R Wicking Trust, researchers from the national team and PCOC collaborated to develop and pilot an early version of the PACOP model. This model has since been refined in consultation with the palliative and aged care sectors and through informal consultation with Commonwealth, state and territory government representatives to form the core structure of the PACOP centre.
The PACOP Profile Collection is based on a robust, evidence-based, best practice model of palliative aged care. It involves routine data collections using standardised assessment tools which will identify when additional palliative care support is required for residents at participating ACHs, leading to the delivery of better quality care. PACOP’s structured training offers opportunities for upskilling your professional workforce, and the standardised framework for assessment also improves communication with residents, families and health professionals through providing a common ‘language’ to underpin communication.
Adopting the Profile Collection improves compliance with Aged Care Quality Standards by improving the quality of data available and identifying residents who need additional palliative care support. You will contribute invaluable data to a national longitudinal database which will help demonstrate improvements in palliative aged care over time. The longitudinal database also provides a valuable resource for both PACOP and the wider health, aged care and scientific community to conduct research into clinical, policy and research priorities and areas of importance in the palliative and aged care sector, to benefit residents and their families.
What is the Profile Collection?
The Profile Collection is PACOP’s core activity, focussed on assessing and understanding the palliative care needs of each resident in aged care homes. This collection ensures a standardised approach to assessment by all participating aged care homes and allows these homes to understand the palliative care needs of their residents and observe the changes in their condition and symptoms. All new aged care homes commencing PACOP start with the Profile Collection. Once they have successfully embedded the Profile Collection with confidence and demonstrated capability, they can progress to the Outcomes Collection.
How are profile assessments conducted?
Profile Collection assessments are conducted by a health professional or clinical leader when an individual enters an aged care home and from that point onwards, they are conducted routinely, every three months. Additional assessments may be triggered by an observed increase in a resident’s needs and/or deterioration in their condition.
For aged care homes that have implemented the Outcomes Collection (in addition to the Profile Collection), information collected during each Profile assessment is used to identify those residents who need palliative care and who will benefit from inclusion in the Outcomes Collection.
Who is eligible to participate in Profile Collection?
All aged care homes that are supported by their organisation and ready to participate are considered eligible to participate in Profile Collection.
What is the Outcomes Collection?
The Outcomes Collection is underpinned by point of care assessment of residents’ palliative care needs, symptoms and distress, and the use of an evidence-based protocol to support clinicians to respond appropriately. It introduces routine palliative care assessments and a response protocol to guide the care delivered to each resident (and/or families) who is approaching the end of their life. Reporting of residents’ outcomes in this collection will support benchmarking and a systematic methodology for quality improvement.
How are outcome assessments conducted?
The Outcomes Collection involves the daily monitoring of residents’ symptom distress by care staff and a framework for escalating elevated levels of symptom distress to clinical staff. At a minimum, residents who are stable will be systematically monitored daily by care staff and weekly by a health professional. Residents demonstrating acute needs, increased symptom distress or who are in a terminal phase will be assessed at least daily by a health professional.
Who is eligible to participate in Outcomes Collection?
All aged care homes that have embedded the Profile Collection with confidence are eligible to progress to the Outcomes Collection.
What is the Snapshot Collection?
The Snapshot Collection entails periodic snapshot surveys to explore particular issues in greater detail as one-off studies to advance palliative care in the residential aged care sector. Such particular issues may include the impact of carer burden on palliative care outcomes in aged care homes. These surveys will help to improve the capture of information about the experiences of palliative residents and their families.